Roybal to be inducted into state coach hall of honor
Cindy Roybal doesn’t feel like she’s at the end of her coaching career.
It just seems like the accolades are coming in like she is on the final stretch.
Over the past six years, Roybal was a part of the induction ceremony for the All-American Red Heads, the all-women traveling team, and a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s girls basketball coach of the year last year.
Roybal’s résumé will grow when she is inducted into the New Mexico High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Honor at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Albuquerque Crowne Plaza Hotel. Roybal, who was hired as head coach at Santa Fe High in April, will be joined by Floyd head boys basketball coach Rafael Roybal and recently retired Lordsburg head football coach and current athletic director Louie Baisa.
Cindy Roybal said Monday, the first day of the weeklong NMHSCA Coaches Clinic, was filled with even more accolades.
“Everyone was handing out congratulations like it was candy,” Roybal said.
It’s yet another cherry on top of the coaching sundae Roybal accumulated over five decades of teaching and coaching. She thought a lot about her career path, which started at St. Catherine Indian School in the mid-1970s, continued to the Institute of American Indian Arts and then shifted into high gear at Santa Fe Indian School from 1979-86.
Roybal recalls that the place where she earned her degree at College of Santa Fe and her first two coaching stops no longer exist or no longer have high school programs.
“It’s amazing to think that I outlived all of those places,” Roybal said.
She’s lasted long enough to coach the first game at SFIS’ Francis L. Abeyta Memorial Gymnasium and Pueblo Pavilion. And she also was a part of the first basketball game at the John A. Wilson Complex, where she coached at New Mexico Highlands University from 1985-2002.
Aside from her time at NMHU, Roybal compiled a 377-104 record during stops at St. Catherine, IAIA, SFIS (twice), Pojoaque Valley, Española Valley and Santa Fe High. She guided the Lady Braves to 3A titles in 2010 and 2011 and a runner-up spot in 2012.
Roybal recently spent the past three seasons at Española, compiling a 71-16 mark and three straight appearances to the 5A semifinals. She took on the job at Santa Fe High because of the task of a small big school taking on some of the top programs in the state appealed to her.
“This is challenging, and I like challenges,” Roybal said. “When I went over [to Española], I was aware of the challenge, and I was happy about what we did — three straight district titles and three semifinal appearances and the best record Española ever had.
“I wanted to get closer to home, and Santa Fe High is another challenge that I think we will take on head on and be successful. I feel this second wind of energy, and I am eager to get started there.”
Most of all, Roybal recalls all the students, athletes, coaches and parents she encountered during her teaching and coaching career with a fondness that grows with time.
“I’ve been thinking about them a lot, the humble beginnings from where we started where we had to cut Christmas trees to fund raise,” Roybal said. “What really comes to my mind is how many kids I have coached who came back and said, ‘If it wasn’t for you, the discipline we had, the work ethic we developed … That is how I am running my program.’
“That’s whether they are a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher. That’s what makes me stay in this profession.”